Kathleen Cushman: Writer and speaker, raising youth voices
As a journalist and documentarian, I collaborate with diverse youth around the U.S. and abroad, bringing their voices directly to bear on the complex challenges that affect their lives and learning. As a speaker and presenter, I work with educational institutions to connect the direct input of youth with promising practices in secondary schools and colleges.
I bring forty years of experience and new learning to this work. Most of my work since 2001 is for What Kids Can Do (WKCD.org), the nonprofit I co-founded with Barbara Cervone, but I also regularly speak, consult, and write for organizations around the country.
Starting as a printer’s devil in my high school years, over four decades I’ve worn every hat in publishing: writer, editor, and publisher for newspapers, magazines, and books in many fields. Reporting on national high school change from 1988 to 2001 gave me a solid grasp of educational issues and an active network of people in the forefront of that field. Teaching first-year writing at Harvard trained me to coach young people to think deeply and to free up and discipline their voices. Helping to start a progressive public secondary school in Massachusetts in 1995 gave me hands-on experience in setting the bar high for all students.
In the past decade, for WKCD, I have traveled the U.S. and abroad collecting the voices of youth, then bringing their words into print and mixed-media forms. Grounded in the rough and subtle realities of adolescence, these voices cut close to the bone — illuminating “best practices” in education, and revealing the fault lines that divide students along lines of class, color, and money. I aim to bring young people’s vivid experiences and insights to an even wider audience, by speaking, writing, and collaborating with you who share a commitment to equity, opportunity, and powerful learning for all.
I live and work in New York City.